Image courtesy of Yaw Tony

Toronto artist and designer Yaw Tony works in multiple disciplines, ranging from furniture design to fashion. His colourful installation ‘ESSE QUAM VIDERE (To Be Rather Than To Appear)’ was part of our festival in 2019, and featured a series of West African cultural symbols printed on fabric.   In January 2020, he created a window installation entitled ‘(AI) – Aesthete’s Items‘ founded on the philosophy that beauty must be expressed and shared commonly.

We spoke to the multidisciplinary designer to inquire into his practice and inspiration, and to hear his thoughts on DesignTO.

How long have you been involved in DesignTO?

Last year was my very first involvement with DesignTO.

What are your favourite things about DesignTO?

The festival attribute of DesignTO is quite interesting. I like the concept of how artworks are spread across the city. The interaction and engagement with artist and work is incredible.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I find inspiration in people, old music and folk stories (the content is rich), nature, colours, the self, and God.

How would you describe your practice?

My artistic practice is deeply sourced by the idea of value and the refinement use of colours and its reconnection to humanity. My artistic oeuvre has not, over a patch of many years, shifted from the art of deployment of storytelling but also into experimental research and the understanding of the value of colours.

I strongly believe all colours complement each other, one just has to know what they are doing.

I mix colours in unconventional ways to produce unique colour values, for the value determines the worth and worth determines the significance, which induce the rarity of each colour. It is the purest approach to archive aesthetics of the use of colours into a world of visual journeys (junction for conversation) where indubitably, resplendently, artistry and character go hand in hand.

I break all colours rules to define all colours rules. I strongly believe all colours complement each other, one just has to know what they are doing. Take a look at nature, it consists of the many colours at a given time and they work beautifully.

Do you have any future plans for your work you can share with us?

I am exploring every possible place I can apply my designs and the use of colours in sofas, textiles, shoes, carpets, wallpaper, etc.

As an artist/designer working in Canada, what role do you feel DesignTO plays in our art and design industry as a whole?

DesignTO is the bridge for us as an artist/designer and the city. It allows the city to come to us and for us to befriend, please, and stimulate the people of the city. It is a perfect marriage, a perfect conversation, a perfect community.

All images courtesy of Yaw Tony.

(AI) – Aesthete’s Items‘ will be on display at gravitypope, 1010 Queen Street West, January 17-26, 2020.

This post was originally published on December 10, 2019.